Alaska Delegation Leads Effort to Delay Alaska Air National Guard Cuts, Protect Defense in the Arctic

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) and Representative Mary Sattler Peltola (D-Alaska) today applauded the announcement that the Air National Guard will delay the implementation of full-time leveling actions in the state of Alaska that would impact or eliminate nearly 80 Active Guard Reserve positions and threaten the United States homeland defense mission in Alaska and beyond.

The delay moves implementation from October 1, 2024 to September 30, 2025, allowing for the Air National Guard to complete a more comprehensive assessment of the impact the proposed changes will have on critical Alaska missions, and decide whether the proposed changes should occur at all. The delay will provide reprieve for the members assigned to Alaska Guard missions that include missile warning, air refueling, and combat rescue.

Senator Murkowski met with Air National Guard members in February to hear about the impact of the proposed cuts to their livelihoods.

“While I am very encouraged by today’s news, this entire exercise was unacceptable,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The strain this uncertainty put on Alaska Air National Guard members – who Alaskans depend on in the most dire of emergencies – for them to worry about their jobs, their benefits, their ability to provide for their families, is unacceptable. Delaying the implementation of the misguided directives is a win – but it should never have come to this. I will remain engaged in this issue to ensure that our Alaska Air National Guard remains operational and supported at the fullest extent, into 2025 and beyond.”

“When I heard about the National Guard’s proposed, ill-advised cuts, my team and I demanded meetings with National Guard Bureau senior leadership, including the Director of the Air National Guard,” said Senator Dan Sullivan. “During those meetings, we explained that Alaska’s National Guard is composed of highly skilled service members who respond to state emergencies, conduct combat search-and-rescue missions, execute air and missile defense missions, support space domain awareness, and serve as a critical link in the defense of the American homeland. These missions are unique in the nation given Alaska’s strategic location and require National Guard members to be on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. These cuts would have undermined not only our state’s security, but our national security as well. While I am heartened by the decision to delay these misguided cuts until October 2025, I will continue to work relentlessly on this issue to keep Alaska National Guard positions secure.”

“Alaska’s Air National Guard plays an essential role in defending our homeland and in ensuring Alaskans’ health and safety,” said Representative Mary Peltola. “This proposal would damage the United States’ ability to project power in the Far North, reduce vital search and rescue capabilities, and push Alaskans out of service to their state and their country. I’m proud we worked to secure this interim solution and look forward to working alongside our Senators towards a more permanent fix.”

Related Issues: Defense